The Croods (2013)

I do have to admit that this is an animation that does stand as different to many others out there. It is about cavemen, and before the world came as we knew it. It’s about change and the discovery of new things. It’s also about the ability to not be afraid, to be fearless and chase the light. If you hadn’t guessed… of course it’s moralistic! But it’s a great kids film, a fun family film in fact.

The Croods - cave drawing

Meet the Croods! First of all, the father, Grug (Nicholas Cage). He lives a life of rules to stay safe. Rules such as “never not be afraid”, “fears keep us alive” and “new is always bad”. He paints a life (literally on the walls of the cave) to his family of the world as a place to die, they must not leave the cave, only to get food and go straight back. But when his cave is broken, they all must venture out into the world. Grug is the one stuck in his ways, finding it difficult to explore and desperate to keep his family safe the only way he knows, in a cave. To say the least, he is overprotective, but he becomes a character that is heart-warming and he only does everything he does to keep his beloved family safe and sound. His wife, Ugga (Catherine Keener), she understands the troubles of the world, she understands the rules, she also just wants to keep her family safe. But she’s the more understanding of the needs to change. Ugga is a loving mum, but she’s not so much of a main character, there’s definitely more focus on the others. Thirdly, the Gran (Cloris Leachman). Her comical lines stems from “I’m still alive”, which ultimately brings a downer on Grug, which does come across as comical of course, not in a morbid way! Forth, is one of the main Croods. Voiced by Emma Stone, is Eep. The curious daughter, the girl who wants to explore the world and discover more out of the cave. She’s the one who abandons her father’s rules and leave the cave at night. Her curiosity taking her to discover what fire is, and ultimately meeting another person, someone named Guy. Guy (voiced by the brilliant Ryan Reynolds – actor and animation equally as beautiful), brings in a new world for the Croods. He uses what he calls his brain to create ideas and make solutions out of problems – such as the need for shoes, in which Eep hilariously falls in love with them. He also has a pet, an adorable, brilliant sloth named Belt (also holds his trousers up). The cavemen seem as animals and Guy is portrayed more modern, more relatable for the audience. But the contrast is clever and comical, especially as the Croods are learning or creating things we already know so well. Back to the Croods, there are more. The son, the most hilarious character in the film personally. Thunk (Clark Duke). The young son is loyal to his father, stupid to the point he panics he hasn’t got a brain, he’s clumsy and petrified of everything, his comical one-liners are brilliant and truly stand out as hilarious. Finally, Sandy. The toddler. She’s definitely more animal than child, I think that’s the best way to explain her. She always needs to be chewing something angrily, and she runs aggressively around on her hands and feet. So there, a small introduction to the Croods.

The Croods - Guy and Eep

‘The Croods’ is a film of a family’s new adventure, the discovery of new things while they are running from danger of what they call “the end”. The film brings creatures of all sorts, mixtures of different animals we know now – such as the crocodile looking dog, Douglas, or even the flying turtles. It’s a land of colours and brilliant new creatures to discover, it’s a great children’s film to fall into. The world is changing, the film shows the adaptions the cavemen have to make in order to survive – perhaps the evolution of the world, the movement of the tectonic plates, of earthquakes for example, I’m not sure whether this is actually what is happening, but it does seem to come across that way. Anyway, the moral is that they have to move and change along with the world.

The Croods - family

This kids’ animation film is fun and different. Thunk is hilarious, as are others, especially Grug’s sudden decision to use his brain and come up with his own ideas, including a “snapshot” and a “ride” (on a rock). I would encourage anyone to watch it if they haven’t already. Fall into this family’s old traditions as they are forced to adapt to their surroundings, especially when their surroundings are falling apart. Fall in love with the characters, as different as they are to many others. Discover the new and follow the light.

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Smurfs: The Lost Village (2017)

This is an animation of stupid humour and silly giggling moments, but that’s definitely not a bad thing! It is a comical easy-watch. Firstly I should mention, ‘Smurfs: The Lost Village’ isn’t connected to the first two Smurfs films; they’ve changed the actors and director, plus the film looks very different, more modernised, oh and there’s no humans in this film, it’s just a full on normal kids’ animation film.

The new voices of this Smurfs are great! From Katy Perry to Demi Lovato, Smurfette is very much the centre of this new film. ‘Smurfs: The Lost Village’ revolves around the only girl smurf trying to find her purpose. She realises she is extremely different to all the other boy smurfs, unable to be one characteristic, she feels alone and tries to find what her purpose is. Taking Hefty (Joe Manganiello), Clumsy (Jack McBrayer) and Brainy (Danny Pudi) with her, Smurfette goes on an adventure to discover whether the myths of the lost village are in fact true. Leaving behind the amazing Papa Smurf (Mandy Patinkin – aka ‘Criminal Minds’ one and only Jason Gideon), the four smurfs race Gargamel (Rainn Wilson – aka Dwight Schrute) experiencing a new world away from the safe one they know so well. This world opens up to new creatures, such as a glow in the dark bunnies which also neigh… The new world is colourful and creative, creating a fun world for the audience.

Smurfs: The Lost Village - Dragonflies

For me, Clumsy stands out as the main source of comedy in the film. He is definitely my favourite, brilliant silly humour that did make me laugh. There is of course much love for Papa Smurf as well. One of the new things nowadays seems to be the fan of the slow-motion effects, and it has been transferred into animation with ‘Smurfs: The Lost Village’. This film definitely shows it’s new age with Smurfs taking selfies. Additionally, the film has many creative moments where it stands as an animation. I will explain, for example, there were many added effects onto Monty the bird, especially when it crashes into something, the effects of sounds that wouldn’t actually be seen but are in this. Ultimately this all just adds to the humour of the film, but that is the humour that it is. Comedy also definitely comes from the duo of Gargamel and Azrael, the cat; a duo worth mentioning. So yeah, I do admit, this film did make me giggle.

Smurfs: The Lost Village - Gargamel

There are many other great guest voices that are recognisable. Now, IMDb says Meghan Trainer is in it, but I completely missed that… Baker Smurf is voiced by the one and only chef Gordon Ramsay. Farmer Smurf is voiced by comedian Jeff Dunham. Grouchy Smurf is Jake Johnson aka Nick Miller (obviously!). There is also additional voices of Ellie Kemper and Julia Roberts (who voices a brilliant character).

I did have an issue with this film. Maybe I was reading more into than intended or you think it’s far-fetched, but it’s definitely not an opinion with no means. My issue is based round the fact that the boy smurfs are named after their only characteristic – which apparently they have to stick to. This was fine, I get why they did this, that’s what made the smurfs the smurfs, they were different through their dominant characteristic. But it becomes a bit derogatory when they are classed under not being able to learn anything else and that’s all they can do. Don’t get me wrong, there is one boy smurf able to do something other than his characteristic, but when they put this against the girl smurfs they meet, they can do everything and they are never classed by what they can or can’t do. Just saying, seems a bit offensive to men, but maybe I’m reading too much into it.

Smurfs: The Lost Village - selfie

Overall, it is a fun adventure film. I wouldn’t say it’s the best animation I’ve ever seen, but it is what it is and to be honest it did make me laugh. I do think, however, without Clumsy this film would be a loss, but he is there so that’s not an issue. It’s an easy watch film of the Smurfs on an adventure, discovering a new world, a new land. Watch this film to discover the world of the Smurfs in a new light and a new journey.

Trolls (2016)

So straight in, this film has great voices in this children’s animation. Let’s start with ‘Pitch Perfect’s Anna Kendrick, great singer and voice as always. Then we jump to an amazing singer himself, Justin Timberlake, yes Justin Timberlake, and ok he does play a character who doesn’t sing much, but when he finally does, its beautiful, obviously. Then there’s the voices of Zooey Deschanel (the star of one of my favourite TV shows ‘New Girl’), Christine Baranski, whose voice stuck out of the most recognisable, oh wait, maybe the second, because after all the carpool karaokes, James Corden stars in a musical film! We cannot forget a voice that is none other than Russell Brand – because who else does he even sound like?! Then there’s other characters such as John Cleese, Jeffrey Tambor, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Kunal Nayyar (most famously in ‘The Big Bang Theory’ as Raj Koothrappali). Oh and Gwen Stefani is in the film too. Although, I’m going to say it how it is, don’t watch this film for Gwen Stefani, for an amazing singer as she is, and trust me I’m a big fan of a lot of her songs, especially when she was in No Doubt, but she’s hardly in this film! I don’t get why they have cast her and then you can’t hear her… She says two words… Anyway, apart from that, I hope the stardom has brought you in a little, because it is a pretty good one.

Trolls - all

And it’s got a pretty good plot too. In a world full of cupcakes and rainbows, where trolls love to sing, dance and hug, there are evil bergens who want to eat the trolls in order to gain true happiness, as in their deepest beliefs, they believe this is the only way they can be happy. Although, saying this there are many different characters and creatures, but most importantly, not all bergens are evil and not all trolls are good. I don’t know whether this would be classed as a spoiler, but it’s something I wanted to mention because it so different from other children’s films where each character is put into a box, whereas this film is different and I appreciate it for that. For example (and this isn’t a plot spoiler because this is just the plot), one troll, Branch, isn’t as positive as all the others, doesn’t want to sing and dance, all he wants is preparation for his determined knowledge that a Bergen will find them once again. To explain this plot in the best way I can, I would say that this is definitely a film of mission to mission, step to step, one thing completed, next mission, and then the next. It’s a quick pace movie but a lot happens.

Trolls - Poppy

Now, I cannot forget the musical side. Zooey Deschanel raps. Do you need more? If you do, then ok. The songs are fun and enjoyable. There are songs we already know and some new, for example the hit ‘Can’t Stop The Feeling’. There are songs you will recognise, however words are changed to add comedy and to fit in with the mood perfectly. The songs are definitely chosen well. And of course the singers are great. Most of the songs are sung by Anna Kendrick, being the main protagonist. A great, fun song has to be ‘Get Back Up Again’, extremely catchy to say the least.

I would definitely recommend this fun, feel-good movie. It is full of humour and definitely makes you smile. It has a clever way of telling stories, fun and new, through scrapbooking – hey, it’s different, fun and great. Come on a journey, discover what trollstice is, venture into Bergen Town and always remember “no troll left behind”.

Brave (2012)

‘Brave’ is a really good animation in my opinion, one very different to others, one where the main protagonist is at fault for what happens. However saying this, I do find that there are heart-breaking moments in this film. It is a kids film, although some parts might be considered scary for young children, I know my little brother used to find it a little bit too scary – however this is highlighted that it is a PG rather than a U.

Brave 2

Anyway, so if you haven’t heard of this beautiful animation I’ll give a little plot detail. So it’s based in Scotland in the days of tribes, actors and actresses with heavy Scottish accents. And the princess is the main protagonist, Merida (Kelly Macdonald – Evangeline from ‘Nanny McPhee’), a young girl wanting to pursue her own dreams, wanting to be her own person, therefore rebelling against her mother who demands for her to be a ‘proper’ princess. Things escalate when Queen Elinor (voiced by the brilliant Emma Thompson – in which I can’t even begin to list what she’s been in because it is just so many films!) decides Merida must choose someone to marry, out of the three eldest sons of the lords of other tribes – one lord being voiced by Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid!!), although his voice is disguised well. In a rage, Merida follows the wisps to a little cottage, a cottage in which the witch lives (voiced by Julie Walters – Mrs Weasley!). After handing her a spell to change her fate, which means changing her mother, using the spell turns her mother into a bear, not exactly what Merida intended but that’s how it goes. You’re not supposed to trust the witch, how many animations tell you that?!

Brave 1

The animation is full of comedy, but also some heart-breaking and heart-warming moments. You’ll understand if you’ve seen the film. The kids aspect of the film is the morals, the relationship between mother and daughter, a bond never to be broken. It’s a heart-warming film and of course has a beautiful end, which for some reason does bring a tear to my eye – don’t judge me, I know it’s a kids animation but it is moving! The heart-breaking moments is the dedication they put into the transformation of the mother, how she struggles to come to grips at what her daughter did. But don’t worry, there’s also comedy! The Queen as a bear is comical at times. The highlight comedy being the three little mischievous brothers of Merida, who to say the least love stealing food around the castle. Also, something to be adored is the love between King Fergus (Billy Connolly – again great) and Queen Elinor, even if the King is defined as the “bear king”.

Brave 3

Overall, I would definitely recommend this animation! It’s a brilliant film, actually differing in many ways to others. Plus as I’ve already stated the voices are of course amazing, so many recognisable. Obviously, the animation is done well and looks amazing as well! It’s a great family film, not just for children. But like I’ve already previously said, it can be a bit too scary for some younger ages. Regardless, it’s a funny and heart-warming film! I hope I’ve made you a little intrigued. An animation of many to learn lessons when the Queen is turned into a bear.

Help! I’m A Fish (2000)

Well what a blast from the past watching this film was! A film I watched repeatedly as a child so watching as an adult, parts of it came rushing back, memories of why I watched it so many times. Yet I always remember as a child this made me cry every time, luckily didn’t make me cry as an adult though! Anyway, what a classic little animation this film is, an adventure of three children who are accidentally turned into fish. Although they are against the clock as they must turn back into humans within the next 48 hours, otherwise they are fish forever. Simple plot I know, but it’s a children’s film what do you expect? Anyway, there’s a slight problem that they can’t find the antidote, lost in the sea, discovering that an evil little fish has taken it and using it for his own needs. This little fish discovering the antidote gives normal fish intelligence and the ability to speak, therefore in his little evil mind an army under his control must be risen and he must get all control of the sea. Of course.

Help! I'm A Fish 1

Fly, the young boy known for his mischievous tricks in talking, takes his younger sister, Stella and his more serious, logical cousin Chuck to the seaside, a trip not quite accepted by his aunt, however, who was supposed to be looking after them. On a little adventurous trip, they stumble upon a secret boat with a mad genius scientist living on, Professor MacKrill. A scientist dedicated to figuring out how humans can live under water to survive the sea levels rising. You may be able to guess what happens, the little children end up turning into the fish and are stranded in the deep blue sea. Fly, now a Californian flyfish, Stella, a starfish, and Chuck, a jellyfish. And you cannot forget Stella’s quick friendship with a seahorse, which she names Sasha. A bigger adventure they embark on now.

I have to admit, there are some extremely dramatic parts in this film, although it all embeds within the children’s adventure under water. It’s something you just have to get used to. Plus, the animation looks quite old, but in a way it works with the film, after the initial shock. It sort of has a comic cartoon feel to the film rather than the realistic animations we see so often now. But the villain fish is voiced by the great Alan Rickman! Which I never realised before, but of course is great. Also, the film is sort of a musical, there are like three songs in the film I think, where they randomly start singing, but in a way it makes sense to the film, and I wouldn’t say the film is technically a musical. The film feels incredibly short, but actually quite a lot happens in their adventure under sea.

Help! I'm A Fish 2

As you can probably tell I find this film great, it’s an enjoyable little adventure film. Although, it is very much a kid’s film, I mostly watch it for nostalgia, having only watched it recently since childhood. Not the best children’s film, but it isn’t awful by no regards, I would never class it as bad, it’s a good nostalgia film! Although if you’re looking for a classic children’s film that you’ve never seen before, this is a good shout. Either way, the song will be stuck in your head afterwards, because “I’m a little yellow fish in the deep blue sea, will somebody help me?”

Shrek (2001)

Now even though I love Disney films, some animations that aren’t Disney are equally as great and should be appreciated as much as the Classics are. There are so many examples of this; ‘Toy Story’, ‘Finding Nemo’, ‘The Incredibles’, ‘Monsters Inc’, ‘Ratatouille’, ‘Hotel Transylvania’, ‘Despicable Me’, ‘Kungfu Panda’, ‘Madagascar’, ‘The Angry Birds Movie’; I should probably stop there, but I can definitely name so many more. But most importantly, ‘Shrek’ and all the sequels. ‘Shrek’ jumps on this list easily, it is an enjoyable film for both children and adults to love. Therefore makes a perfect family film.

With the likes of Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, John Lithgow, and the excellent Eddie Murphy, all thrown in with classic songs to perfectly represent moods of the film; ‘Shrek’ is a blast from the past in my eyes, but is still appreciated and should be always. Since watching this film today I just had to do a review on it, and previously I hadn’t watched it in donkeys (sorry – couldn’t resist…); but after watching it, my childhood came rushing back. Reminded of all those great tunes, including ‘All Star’, ‘Bad Reputation’, ‘Hallelujah’ and ‘I’m a Believer’, you’re able to feel every mood of the film and delve into the characters emotions, happy or sad.

shrek-shrek-and-donkey

A film of morals, very deep morals. Ones that reflect sayings such as, “Sometimes things are more than they appear”, representing Shrek’s hurt inside by being judged as an ogre couldn’t be more portrayed in this film; “They judge me before they even know me. That’s why I’m better off alone”. A sad life he leads, but one where he thinks he is living the best he can; until… He accidentally saves a poor talking donkey’s life, one forever grateful, one who finds an immediate friendship in Shrek no matter how hard Shrek tries to reject him. Donkey just keeps talking and keeps following, for as Donkey says (get ready for yet another moralistic message), “That’s what friends do, they forgive each other” no matter what. All very important messages for children to understand.

Now I said ‘Shrek’ is a family film. It’s obvious that it is a brilliant film for children to love, with the recognisable Fairy Tale characters, from Pinocchio to the three little pigs. Also they would appreciate the humour of the film, especially the best character, Donkey! His hilarious comments or continuous ways becomes familiar for the audience to love, and of course the cute friendship between Shrek and Donkey is something to be adored in the end. So where do adults come into this? Well other than just the great essence of the film, the film is riddled with adult humour throughout, references to alcohol, but also some sexual innuendos; but don’t worry this isn’t obvious!

shrek-shrek-and-fiona

One of the great things about this film is that it easily stands out from others of its time. The hero of the film is a character upset in self-hate and just wants to be accepted. But also one seen as villain in the ‘humans’ eyes of the film, but of course not in the audiences’! Other than this, there are so many other differences, just simple things of freeze frames of Fiona mid-kick while she sorts her hair, the camera spinning around the action, you don’t usually see that in many films but I think it uniquely adds to the humour. Or perhaps the moment where Lord Farquaad has to choose his princess, in a humorous style like a game show; Bachelorette number 1, Cinderella, Bachelorette number 2, Snow White, or Bachelorette number 3, Princess Fiona. Even once breaking the ‘forth wall’ (looking into the camera), not addressing the audience, just during song, of course!

If you haven’t seen this film, I (surprised) would definitely recommend it. But I’m sure most have already seen this film, but just don’t forget how great all the ‘Shrek’ films are; I forgot until now, but this review is so others don’t make the same mistake as me. So go ahead, go back to Shrek, Donkey and Fiona and take the journey all the way till the end.

Sausage Party (2016)

I remember when this film came out for trailers. People started watching thinking it was a children’s animated film, just like many others. But this time one with talking food and their perception of humans. Until you actually watch the trailer and get to that one part where you realise this isn’t a kid’s film at all. I repeat, this is NOT a children’s film! It’s definitely an animated film about talking food, yes, but one for older ages, 100%.

Ok so firstly, this is a 15, and for very good reason! I can’t begin to explain how understandable this is… Also I thought I would mention that, it is not appropriate for those who: a) don’t like too much swearing – it swears non-stop, even sings swear words… b) don’t like sexual innuendos – I don’t even know if they were innuendos or just straight out strong sexual references, even beyond that… and finally c) don’t like watching things that could be taken quite offensively – this is also a bit of an understatement. Put simply, this film is of a required humour.

I have to admit, some parts of the film, yeah were hilarious, my favourite having to be ‘I Would Do Anything For Love’ song coming on and then an actual meatloaf appearing to sing it. Although parts during that song… Umm, words can’t explain how weird they were. I just thought the singing meatloaf was funny to be honest. And some parts were so stupid they were funny, or perhaps I was so confused by what I was actually watching that laughter was the only choice… But I have to say, I was stunned in some parts that they even went to those areas… I actually had my mouth hanging open in disbelief in the cinema.

sausage-party-shocked-faces

Focussing on the trailer, I have a few things to say. Yes from the trailer you know it’s a comedy and yes from the trailer you know it’s a film for adults mainly based on the whole load of swearing. But one thing that the trailer did not portray was how rude it actually was! Also, I found the trailer more focussed on when the food were at a human house, whereas the actual film was mostly based in the shop itself. Although, you can’t have a trailer telling you everything, that would spoil it so I understand why this was done.

Anyway, so what is the film actually about? At Shopwells, food has a fantasy that they want to be chosen by the Gods and be taken outside into the greater world beyond, yet they don’t know the truth that they are being taken to be eaten and as they call it “murdered”. When one finds out they try desperately to tell the others, this being Barry (voiced by Michael Cera). Meanwhile, back at the shop, some of the food accidentally gets taken to the wrong side of the shop and there’s a mishap where they fall out of the trolley being separated from their friends and their God who chose them. This being a sausage and bun who are in love, and a bagel and a tortilla I think, they never actually say what food he is… These then try to make it across the store to make it back to their own aisle, while on the way meeting up with a taco, Teresa (Salma Hayek – possibly recognisable from ‘Grown Ups’) and being chased by something angry, I really don’t want to say what… Anyway, the sausage, Frank (Seth Rogan), believes that the outer world might be something else so he tries to discover the truth behind it all, whereas the others, don’t want to believe anything he says, especially his love, Brenda (Kristen Wiig). It is a creative storyline, can’t say I’ve watched a film like this one before. At all. I did like how they jumped from how the food saw things and then how the humans did. It was predominantly from the foods eyes obviously, but had occasional jumps to what the human’s saw which cleverly adjusted the lighting and saw food as we see food. To say the least, I’ll never look at food the same…

sausage-party-out-of-packaging

Overall, I have to say this was the weirdest film I’ve ever seen in my whole entire life. It was quite bizarre, but I have to admit some parts were funny. I just strongly advise that you have the right humour for this film, then you’d perhaps love the craziness and absurdity of ‘Sausage Party’.